This may not send wee ones to the Land of Nod, but it will spark their imaginations and tickle their funny bones.


Counting sheep has never been such a cooperative effort!

A little black child lies in bed on the endpapers staring at a sheep-shaped clock. A puffy, stuffed sheep rests at the end of the bed. The child is counting sheep. As the book begins, Sheep 99 and Sheep 100 sail over the fence, but Sheep 101 (the stuffed toy) becomes stuck midjump. Sheep 102 tries to help, but the child narrator tells it sheep aren’t supposed to talk. As Sheep 101 continues to struggle, along comes a cow (the one that jumped over the moon); she says they’re out of sheep and she’s Sheep 103. The fifth little piggy is Sheep 104. One of the three blind mice is Sheep 105. Sheep 102 returns and calls in Sandman, a Lego rescue copter…only to find that Sheep 101 (and the child) are fast asleep. Morris’ charmer of a bedtime tale is told mostly in speech balloons with occasional text interjection from the counting child, who is depicted only on the endpapers. Pham’s digitally finished crayon-and-pencil cartoon illustrations, all full-bleed, are full of foolish-looking farm animals who routinely break the fourth wall and address the counting child (and the audience). Cheeky characters, onomatopoeia, and plenty of goofy action will keep the pages turning and force rereads.

This may not send wee ones to the Land of Nod, but it will spark their imaginations and tickle their funny bones. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-21359-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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